Welcome to the second week of both fantasy action and NBA action. Today, we’ll check up on how my predictions panned out last week, make some new ones that will inevitably be wrong and admire the Utah Jazz for refusing to do anything logical.
Magic vs Cavaliers
Paolo Banchero continues his rookie of the year campaign in what looks to be another tough year for the Orlando Magic: 29 points, eight rebounds and four assists on 10-19 shooting. I noted this last week but he looks damn good and could he make the All-Star game this year? A question worth pondering. Before turning to the Cavaliers, it’s worth noting that Bol Bol has steadily been getting more and more minutes over the last few games. He played 21 last night and put up nine points, 10 rebounds and two blocks. As for Clevland it was Evan Mobley leading the scoring charge last night with 22 points on 60% shooting. Jarrett Allen on the other hand cleaned up the glass last night with 16 rebounds total!
Hawks vs Pistons
Remember not that long ago when John Collins trade rumors were swirling? Well, it’s only been three games but he really seems to have found his place within the offense. He’s averaging 19 points and 10 rebounds on the season. As for how the Hawks offense would look with both Trae Young and Dejounte Murray, it appears the answer is pretty well. Murray is averaging 20 points and seven assists while Young is averaging 25 points and eight assists. Speaking of elite scoring threats, Bojan Bogdanovic dropped 30 again last night, leading the Pistons in scoring with 33. I called him an excellent streaming option last week and, if he’s still available, he’s a must add in points leagues now. We’ll see in a few weeks if he truly is this dangerous all season, but for now consider him a must add.
Hornets vs Knicks
Dennis Smith Jr. has got to be the surprise player of the year so far. Bouncing around the league for a few years, signs a one-year deal with Charlotte, comes off the bench in his first game and puts up 12 points on really good efficiency then now starts. He put up 18 last night on 50% field goal shooting as well as six assists and three steals. Not a long term plan for Charlotte at all, but I definitely regret dropping him in my 30-team league. As for the victorious Knicks, they were led by the 25 million dollar man Jalen Brunson. 27 points, 13 assists, seven rebounds on 66% from the field. The center battle that I had mentioned last week is still ongoing but, at least for the short term Mitchell Robinson is the better bet. More minutes averaged, more clutch situations, and better numbers all around.
76ers vs Raptors
It’s gonna be another year similar to last for the Raptors isn’t it? A stingy, limited rotation while the starters play 33+ minutes a night. This especially applied to Toronto’s guards, Gary Trent Jr. and Fred VanVleet, who both have averaged 38 minutes per night. As a Raptors fan I would love to see some more minutes for Dalano Banton and Malachi Flynn but I don’t expect much to change. As for the 76ers, the team continues to struggle from three and lack perimeter defense. I don’t understand why Doc Rivers completely dropped Matisse Thybulle from the rotation. Granted, he’s near zero on offense but his defense could really help out the team. Worth noting as well, Tyrese Maxey had his best game of the year so far, putting up 31 points and six assists.
Nets vs Bucks
Somebody on twitter called Ben Simmons the “Westbrook of the East” and I couldn’t agree more. He’s been a complete wash on offense so far, defensively he’s regressed a fair bit and he’s well overpaid. I think if he were to go to a small market team and quietly get his form back, then he could recover his career. Granted, it’s way too early in the season to be saying any of this but it’s a big catalyst for the Nets losing last night. As for the Bucks, well Giannis Antetokounmpo decided that last night he simply wasn’t going to lose. He dropped 43 points, 14 rebounds and five assists just for good measure. The team shot 27% from the three-point line and it didn’t matter.
Pacers vs Bulls
Chris Duarte or Bennedict Mathurin was the question I pondered last game, but the answer all along may have been Buddy Hield. He led the Pacers in scoring last night with 24 points on near 60% three point shooting. Aaron Nesmith got the start at the three, putting up a respectable nine points. The Pacers are going to be a revolving door of starting line ups this year, so I probably shouldn’t place emphasis on who starts for them. As for the Bulls they have had a consistent starting five through four games and it looks to stay that way for a long while. Zach LaVine had a nice night with 28 points, but he’s not who I want to focus on. I have a soft spot for Andre Drummond. He’s only good at one thing but, by god, is he good at that one thing. He grabbed 13 rebounds off the bench last night and is averaging nine per game on the season so far. Never change Drummond, never change.
Spurs vs Timberwolves
The Spurs will also be a revolving door of starting line ups and minutes as the season progresses. Both guards Joshua Primo and Devin Vassell were out last night so minutes were especially spread. Josh Richardson appears to be the go-to man in the back court, as he played 32 minutes and put up 11 points and 10 assists. Anthony Edwards finally had a stellar performance, putting up 34 points and nine assists last night. I frequently said last year that the Timberwolves had only two players worth mentioning but since Rudy Gobert has arrived they seem to have a much more balanced approach.
Rockets vs Jazz
So the Jazz have continued to win, Jordan Clarkson continues to start and Rudy Gay continues to average 15+ minutes a night and play more than Collin Sexton. At this point, I say let them keep winning, I was upset at first but it is funny to see them keep winning. Lauri Markkanen has been excellent through these four games averaging 21 points, nine rebounds and one steal per game. As for the Rockets, well there’s not much to say with them, young players keep developing, Kevin Porter Jr.’s scoring has been consistent through five games and Jalen Green has solidified himself as the franchise’s guy heading forward.
Lakers vs Nuggets
I’m concerned about the Nuggets this year from a non-fantasy standpoint. Heading into the season they seemed to be a consensus top three team in the West with huge expectations but, through four games, they’ve looked mortal. Jamal Murray is still working through his recovery, Michael Porter Jr. didn’t play last night because of his back and everyone outside of Aaron Gordon and Nikola Jokic have looked mediocre. It’s only been four games so no need to panic, but I just wouldn’t be surprised to see this team tinker and make a trade later in the season. The Lakers, on the other hand, are still struggling from three and with bench scoring. On a positive note, Anthony Davis looked amazing last night so hopefully he can stay healthy this season and lead the team like he was supposed to.
Heat vs Trail Blazers
A metaphorical bench brawl last night between the Heat and the Trail Blazers, as all 13 players got at least some kind of playing time. We got our first small sample of Nikola Jovic last night, playing just 14 minutes and getting into a surprising amount of foul trouble. Fellow rookie Shaedon Sharpe got a much bigger role last night, playing 21 minutes and putting up 15 points and eight rebounds. He’s been averaging 15 minutes per game, slowly making his way into the rotation.